The Importance of the Seasonal Worker Program

29 September, 2022

I thank the Acting Deputy Speaker for offering me the invitation to speak on the Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No. 3) Bill 2022. I'm not going to take up a lot of time of the Federation Chamber. One of the important things in this bill for me is that it addresses employment of Pacific Islanders in Australia, their labour mobility clauses and the tax effects on them. Normally, international workers would begin to pay 32½ per cent tax on everything they earn immediately they arrive here. This is unfair to them compared to other workers who happen to be Australian nationals. What the government has done in this case is to say: 'All right. We'll start with you with a 15 per cent flat rate.' It's a massive change for them, but for their benefit.

Why is this so important to me? It is because these workers actually work in my district. They are spread all around my electorate. They are especially useful in the asparagus season and other seasons of import. The system that the government has in place for international workers—especially workers from the Pacific Islands—has made a marked difference to the viability of many of the farms around where I was born and where I live—that's no longer in my electorate, but it's still very important to me. There are even a number of Pacific Islanders now working within the Warragul area that I represent. The treatment of the labour mobility program, otherwise known as the Seasonal Worker Program, is of vital importance to me. I just want to make the point, on behalf of my constituency, of how important this legislation is. It is basic tax legislation, but it makes a very good point about the Seasonal Worker Program. I thank you, Deputy Speaker, for your indulgence in allowing me to speak on the matter.

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Russell Broadbent MP
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